March 8, 2011

Discrimination against women is soaring, though some levels of progress have been made in women empowerment, Hajia Mary Salifu Boforo, National Democratic Congress (NDC) member for Savelugu and Deputy Majority Chief Whip said on Tuesday.

She said women were often confronted with sexual harassment in the quest to secure and maintain their employment status.

Hajia Boforo expressed these in a statement she presented to Parliament to mark the International Women’s Day, which falls on March 8 every year. The Day is on the theme: Equal Access to Education Training and Science and Technology: Pathway to Decent work for Women.”

Hajia Boforo, who presented the statement said, Lack of quality health care and violence against women are still part of our everyday life.” She said in education, the country did not fully implement the affirmative action policy, which started several years ago, which according to her resulted in the high illiteracy among women as compared to men. She indicated that making education accessible to women was a means to securing the future of the nation.

Hajia Boforo urged all stakeholders to work towards the realisation of the vision 2020 declared by the African Union.

Commenting on the statement, Mrs Elizabeth Amoah-Tettey Deputy Minister for Education, said women formed the highest percentage of illiterates in the world, adding that empowering them was the best for the country. She said women did not sit idle but contributed financially in running the home.

“It is sad that when women grow, they are rather given bad names such as witches,” and added that old age in the past was a sign of blessing but turned against women. Ms Cecilia Abena Dapaah, NPP member for Bantama, said science authors must demystified science in their writings by making science so practical and employment-oriented to attract more women into the science related courses.

She said women must be given the right place in organisations without which the country could not achieve the Millennium Development Goals. “Women are great economists because they manage homes well,” she said and added that some were single parents but fended for children singlehandedly. Citing the example from other countries, Ms Dapaah said out of 400,000 workers in the textile industries in Lesotho, majority of them were women because they were highly qualified.

She called on the Government to continue to pursue its promise of 30 per cent ministerial position for women because it was not too late. Ms Dapaah said it was unfortunate that the Gambaga witch camp is headed by a man. Mr David Tetteh Assumeng, NDC member for Shai Osudoku, congratulated women for occupying critical positions in Ghana using the Speaker, Mrs Joyce Bamford-Addo as an example.

He stated that there were many women in the farm working daily contributing to the economic development of the country and called for a financial assistance to encourage them to produce more. Mrs Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, NPP member for Ayawaso West-Wuogon, hailed all women in secondary and tertiary institutions stating that their training in such institutions would enhance their future.

She noted that the affirmative action adopted by tertiary institutions in admitting women, increased the number of women in many of the tertiary institutions. She, however, said government must ensure that more residential facilities were provided. She called on organizations, which did not employ women because of their reproductive roles, especially on issues of maternity leave, to reconsider their stands.

Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, NPP member for Weija, called on African governments to work hard at women empowerment by ratifying all gender charters to make them enforceable. Alhaji Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka said the role of women was very important in administration, politics and all sphere of life, but only 20 per cent of the top post across the world was given to women unlike Thailand that had a lot of women in top positions.

He argued that even the advanced countries were not able to succeed in giving deserved positions to women. Alhaji Muntaka stated that the Ghanaian education system did not favour women as it failed to give those, who did not succeed in their first attempts of examination, a second chance.

He said situations that a man impregnated a girl in school, the man always had the chance to continue but the girl in most cases had limited or no chance to continue her education. He said in most cases women were their own enemy by meting out bad treatment to each other and cited the example of nurses, who treated their fellow pregnant women with contempt.

Source: GNA